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CEO Mindset Mastery: How to Leverage the Power of Strategic Thinking

accountability mindset planning time management Mar 20, 2024
CEO Mindset Mastery: How to Leverage the Power of Strategic Thinking

 

[Listen to the podcast version here]

 

As a fellow CEO, I understand how difficult it can be to carve out time in your busy schedules. In today’s episode, I’m going to ask you to set aside time for one key activity: strategic thinking time.

Before you tell me you don’t have time, hear me out!

As a CEO, you are bombarded with an endless stream of decisions – some so small you might not realize you’re making them and others so big that they could change the course of your business – all in a day’s work.

Over time, you’ll start to experience decision fatigue where you’re operating with impaired judgement, increasing your potential to act impulsively, hindering your long-term success. I’m sure you’ve felt it before – at the end of a long week when you’re wishing for a soak in the hot tub, and you get that call on Friday at 6pm with the next emergency. It’s all you can do to focus and try to get through it. Then you’re working over the weekend to fix the problem and don’t get the rest you need to start all over the next week.

Then there’s the sheer amount of information that you’re expected to consume - market reports, industry trends, sales data, financials, updates from meetings, employee feedback – all competing for your time and using up precious mental processing power.

You’re constantly juggling shifting priorities, working hard to balance short-term objectives with your long-term vision and it feels like there’s never enough of you to go around.

The crazy thing is this is the default pattern for a lot of CEO’s!

So – going back to the time issue…

Before you can comfortably commit to blocking out time for strategic thinking – we’ll talk about why you must do this in a little bit – you’ve got to get some things off your plate first!

 

Let’s talk about the big “D” – Delegation.

YOU don’t need to be the one doing all the things and you absolutely SHOULDN’T be.

There’s a concept called the Eisenhower Matrix.

It’s a process where you sort your tasks into 4 categories:

  • Urgent & Important
    • These are the things YOU need to do. They have clear deadlines and significant impacts if
    • they aren’t handled correctly.
  • Urgent & Not Important
    • These are the things you DELEGATE. Your EXPERTISE isn’t needed for these, but they do need to be completed.
  • Not Urgent & Important
    • These are things that don’t have a deadline yet, but will help you achieve your long-term goals. You SCHEDULE these to do later.
  • Not Urgent & Not Important
    • These are things that you should just remove from your list because if they’re neither urgent nor important, they bring no value to you or your organization.

 

Once you’ve run through this process, it’s easy to set priorities:

  1. Focus on the Urgent & Important tasks
  2. Delegate the Urgent & Not Important tasks
  3. Schedule the Not Urgent & Important tasks
  4. Happily cross off the Not Urgent & Not Important tasks

Then, you can take this one step further: start time blocking your calendar.

I use Outlook for my calendar, but this works with other calendars as well.

I have pre-set categories for types of work like Admin, Business Development, Content Creation, and Education. Everything is color coded, so when I look at my calendar, I can tell at a glance what I should be focusing on. I also like to change up the music I'm listening to depending on what I'm working on to help me focus and bring the right energy to the task!

The last piece to you creating time for strategic thinking is the hardest, which is why it’s a key piece of my Decisive CEO Mindset process - setting boundaries and enforcing them. YOU have to be accountable to the boundaries you set for yourself and hold OTHERS accountable as well to protect your time. None of the work you’ve done up to this point to clean up your to-do list and control your schedule makes a difference if you don’t draw a line in the sand and say this is non-negotiable.

Up to this point, I've focused on how to make time for strategic thinking, but you may still be wondering why it’s worth the effort to do so…

To truly have control of your time, you have to let go and embrace some key mindset shifts:

 

Shift from Reactive to Proactive Thinking

It’s natural to fall into the habit of reacting to immediate challenges, staying in crisis mode. Prioritizing time for strategic thinking shifts you from reactive to proactive thinking – you’re anticipating challenges and opportunities, planning ahead of time on how to handle them, incorporating techniques into your Cultivated Success Blueprint so you can stay ahead of the curve and position your business for sustainable growth.

 

Shift from Operational to Strategic Leadership

Remember the Eisenhower Matrix? One of its goals is to help you focus on the things only a CEO should be doing, instead of getting involved in the weeds of daily operations. Once you delegate operational responsibilities to trusted team members, this frees you up to focus on setting the long-term strategic vision of your business, identifying growth opportunities, and aligning your resources to achieve your goals.

 

Shift from Perfectionism to Iterative Learning

As a CEO, you place huge pressure on yourself to have all the answers and never miss a step, but this isn’t possible. If you’re too focused on being perfect, you’ll end up not making decisions because you don’t trust yourself with the answer or waiting until it’s too late to take advantage of an opportunity or avoid a huge problem.

When you prioritize strategic thinking, you begin to understand that iterative learning and experimentation can yield much greater results over time. Opening yourself up to feedback, adapting to changing circumstances and learning from your successes and failures will make you a better CEO and cultivate a focus on innovation and continuous improvement in your business.

 

As you embrace strategic thinking, your role as a CEO changes. It frees you from being involved in the 24/7 grind of running your business so you can focus on what YOU are best suited to do and empower others in your business to handle the rest.

This is part of what I teach in my Cash Flow Ignition Methodology.

Strategic thinking impacts all three pillars of the methodology.

Most of what I’ve shared today is working on your Decisive CEO Mindset helping you make the shift in how you approach your role as CEO and what you want to accomplish with your business.

Next, we take your vision and priorities and apply them to your current operations using the Cohesive Cash Flow System – through this process, we align your vision and operations to focus on generating predictable cash flow and prepare your business for long term sustainability.

The last piece is your Cultivated Success Blueprint, which I mentioned earlier. It’s your personal roadmap to achieving long term sustainability in your business and living your best life. No more sacrificing one for the other, feeling torn between your business and your life. The Cultivated Success Blueprint weaves the two together, so you have the tools and resources necessary to achieve your dreams.

If you’re interested in learning how my Cash Flow Ignition Methodology can ignite your cash flow engine, I invite you to book your Cash Flow Optimization call with me today. On this call, we’ll tackle your immediate cash flow concerns and outline actionable steps for quick improvement. I'll walk you through the Cash Flow Ignition Methodology, explaining how it accelerates results. If it resonates with you, I’ll share some options post-call on how we can work together so you can achieve success faster.

 

Unleash Your Cash Flow Potential

 

Ready to see how the Cash Flow Ignition Method can turbocharge your cash flow and put you on the fast-track to success?

Learn how my method can help you:

  • Develop a clear picture of what success means for you
  • Make snappy, confident decisions that kick your cash flow into high gear
  • Run your operations like a well-oiled machine, no firefighting needed
  • Shift gears with ease as business needs change